Richard Atcherley

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Sir Richard Atcherley
Air Vice Marshal R L Atcherley.jpg
Air Vice Marshal R L Atcherley
Nickname(s) Batchy
Born (1904-01-12)12 January 1904
York, England
Died 18 April 1970(1970-04-18) (aged 66)
Aldershot, England
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Air Force
Years of service 1922–59
Rank Air Marshal
Commands held
Battles/wars Second World War
Relations Air Vice Marshal David Atcherley (brother)

Air Marshal Sir Richard Llewellyn Roger Atcherley, KBE, CB, AFC & Bar (12 January 1904 – 18 April 1970) was a senior Royal Air Force officer. He served as Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Pakistan Air Force from 1949 to 1951.

Early life

Richard Atcherley and his twin David were born on 12 January 1904, and were the sons of Major General Sir Llewellyn Atcherley, Chief Constable of the West Riding of Yorkshire,[1] and his wife 'Nellie', Eleanor Frances (1871–1957), daughter of Richard Mickelthwait, of Ardsley House, in the valley of Deane near Barnsley. Their father was a grandson of David Francis Atcherley of Marton Hall, High Sheriff of Shropshire, Serjeant-at-law, Attorney-General of the County Palatine of Lancaster and County Durham. Richard Atcherley and his brother, first cousins of William Empson, attended Oundle School in Northamptonshire.[1]

RAF career

In 1922, Atcherley attended the RAF College Cranwell and was commissioned two years later.[2] He initially served as a pilot on No. 29 Squadron, flying Snipes out of Duxford.[2] In 1925, Atcherley attended the Central Flying School and then returned to his squadron as both a pilot and a qualified flying instructor.[2] He was a member of the RAF team that competed for the Schneider Trophy in 1929.[3]

The RAF team for Schneider Trophy race 1929. Atcherley is shown on the right.

Second World War

Atcherley was appointed Officer Commanding No. 219 Squadron in October 1939 and then became Officer Commanding the Air Element of the British Expeditionary Force in Norway in May 1940.[2] He went on to be Station Commander at RAF Drem in Scotland in June 1940 in which year he was also awarded the Air Force Cross.[2] He was awarded a bar to his Air Force Cross on 24 September 1941.[4] In 1942 he served as Station Commander at RAF Fairwood Common and then at RAF Kenley.[2]

He was promoted to temporary group captain on 27 March 1942.[5] In April 1943 Atcherley became Air Officer Commanding of No. 211 Group at Tripoli in Libya.[2] At the time of the invasion of Sicily (Operation Husky) on 10 July 1943, No. 211 Group was the primary fighter force of Air Vice Marshal Harry Broadhurst's Desert Air Force, a sub-command of Air Marshal Sir Arthur Coningham's Northwest African Tactical Air Force.[6] Later that year he transferred to Headquarters RAF Fighter Command and in 1944 he moved to Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Air Force in preparation for Operation Overlord.[2] He spent the closing stages of the War as Commandant of the Fighter Leaders' School and then as Commandant of the Central Fighter Establishment.[2]


After the War he was appointed Commandant of the Royal Air Force College Cranwell before becoming Chief of the Air Staff for the Royal Pakistani Air Force in 1949 and then Air Officer Commanding No. 12 Group in 1951.[2] He went on to be Head of the RAF Staff in Washington D. C. in 1953 and Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief at Flying Training Command in 1955 before retiring in 1959.[2]

In retirement he became Sales Director at Folland Aircraft Limited.[7]


  1. ^ a b Biography of Sir Richard Atcherley
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation – Air Marshal Sir Richard Atcherley
  3. ^ PAF's Chiefs of the Air Staff Archived 25 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "No. 35284". The London Gazette (Supplement). 23 September 1941. p. 5569.
  5. ^ "No. 35503". The London Gazette. 27 March 1942. p. 1386.
  6. ^ Army Air Forces Historical Office Headquarters, Participation of the Ninth & Twelfth Air Forces in the Sicilian Campaign, Army Air Forces Historical Study No. 37, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, 1945.
  7. ^ Folland Visitor Flight International, 5 June 1959
Military offices
Preceded by
Walter Bryant
RAF College Commandant
Succeeded by
George Beamish
Preceded by
Allan Perry-Keene
Commander-in-Chief, Royal Pakistan Air Force
Succeeded by
Leslie William Cannon
Preceded by
Gilbert Harcourt-Smith
Air Officer Commanding No. 12 Group
Succeeded by
William Crisham
Preceded by
Sir Lawrence Pendred
Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Flying Training Command
Succeeded by
Sir Hugh Constantine
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